SeniorCenterIsBack

With the help of a few directors, and an outpouring of support from neighborhood residents, the Bonham Senior Center has won its fight to stay open —at least for the coming year.

As reported in the local newspaper last September, the senior center’s lunch program — held Tuesday through Saturday afternoon at the Bonham Ministry, 2129 Oak St. —was threatened with closure this November, because the Bonham regional commission on Aging had recommended cutting Bonham from its list of city-funded nutrition sites.

“Our seniors came out of their chairs over them trying to close their center”, said Iris Smith, whose position as meal site manager at the Bonham Senior Center would have been scrapped if the commission had gone ahead with its plan.

But after senior center members and their neighborhood allies collected nearly 3.000 signatures on a petition protesting the closure and enlisted the aid of Supervisor Helen Day, the commission backed down.

In a compromise solution, they agreed to continue to have meals delivered to 2129 Oak St., as long as the senior center and its umbrella organization. The Senior Services footed the bill for the site manager’s salary.

“What regional commission said was, we’ll let you keep the center open as long as they don’t have to pay anything,” explained Steven Small, senior center executive director.

According to Bonham Ministry Pastor Reynard Doyle, the turning point came when Day persuaded commission Director Matthew Hoover to visit the center in October.

“His visit made all the difference in the world,” Doyle said. “He talked to the center members and saw for himself all the support from the merchants and the neighborhood groups.” Doyle noted that neighborhood activists, along with a number of local merchants, had been particularly helpful in launching a campaign to save the program.